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Is Mobile Testing A Challenge?

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“As ironic as it seems, the challenge of a tester is to test as little as possible. Test less, but test smarter.” — Federico Toledo 

The mobile application industry is growing vastly, and has reached a total number of ~3 billion users. That’s a whopping number! 😲 And it will continue growing more and more in the coming years.

Testing mobile applications for Android and iOS is crucial for users/customer satisfaction. However, when talking about mobile testing, it is always considered challenging, because one can’t always assure that it will have coverage of all possibilities and that it will work on every handset.

Sometimes there are also very specific demands from the business side for apps that need to be native applications, and so as testers, we need to be very conscious of what coverage is required while testing.

I have tried to list out some of the common challenges while testing applications on mobile devices and which possible methods we can use to overcome them.

1. Device Scopes

Devices required for testing play a very important role. Nowadays there is responsive web development for almost every application. So if the application works on iPhones, it should work well on iPads and Android devices as well. But if we consider native applications then, as a tester, you need to be very clear about the devices’ scope from the business end on which devices the applications need to be tested on and what we are going to give support to. Try to get everything documented and approved. It will help you if some issue arises at your end.

2. Operating System Versions

Operating system versions are probably the most crucial criteria in mobile testing. The application should be quickly adaptable if newer versions of operating systems come out in the market and it should also support older versions if the customer still uses the older version.

Generally, your application should stick to older than two versions. But many times, few users preferred to use lower versions or unknowingly they use outdated OS versions that do not support the application updates and it creates unnecessary chaos.

As for the testing part, it should be clear what OS versions we are going to support in the future, up to what extend older versions are expected to be supported, and it should be mutually agreed with both parties and of course, documented.

3. User Experience

The user experience of any application should be very clean and concise. From only the look and feel, 90% of users decide if they want to use your application or not.

From a quality point of view, we need to be assured that the app should have a very good user interface and user experience, and that it’s not complicated for users to use it. Users should feel at ease while using your application.

While testing makes sure the app is user-friendly, if it’s complicated to use we can accordingly suggest to the UX team to make changes in the user interface if required.

4. Screen Modes

Yes, this is also important! Landscape and portrait modes can make a huge difference. This is from my personal experience, I have faced lots of issues while testing on such screen modes. The size of screens plays a pivotal role in the user interface of an application. If the screen looks perfectly fine in portrait mode, it does not mean it will also good in landscape mode.

If your applications are more UX oriented, then make sure they are tested properly on both modes. For example, buttons, scroll bars, checkboxes, etc should look accurate on both modes.

5. Scope of Handsets

It’s not possible to make a list of which handset users are going to use. But different handset testing makes a huge variability.

As a Tester, we must try to get a large scope of various mobile devices to assure that our app works on as many device variations as possible. A good solution for that would be to utilize cloud providers, such as BrowserStack or Sauce Labs that provide a wide range of devices you can test on. You can read more about it here.

So if you get a chance, try to make a rough list and aspire to get them from your organization’s device repositories and test on them (make sure to share it with your entire team).

6. Images / Video Content 

Images and video content is the heart and soul of every application. Images and video make your application more vibrant and cool. If your app contains images, make sure these images should not look stretched or blurry on any device versions. You need to make sure there are only high-quality images.

As far as video is concerned, it should be high-quality videos, properly displayed on landscape and portrait mode and their streaming should not have any hindrance irrespective of the internet connection.

7. Security 

Security plays a massive aspect of any application. Threats to unknown viruses, the malware creates unnecessary fraudulent activities. When apps are deployed on the App Store or Play Store, we need to verify all concerns of respective stores, and after that our app is available on both stores.

Mobile application security can be tested from your end. You need to make sure while testing your application what kind of permissions the app requires, if there is any third party engagement involved or not, what are the privacy policy rules, and regulations defined. It should be properly agreed and discussed between both parties.

8. Network 

Network availability is one of the most challenging parts of any mobile testing. There are different types of networks like 3G,4G, WiFi, and if we are considering an international format then they will have their own set of WiFi and networks.

Sometimes your application does not work on your current network, but it can work on some other network very smoothly, and its quite impossible to test on each network that is available around us.

Try to test as many as possible available networks, and mention this risk in your test report whenever you are signing off the test report.

9. Performance

Applications always suffer issues of performance memory leak. Crashing of applications and battery performance are the core issues of your application.

We need to make sure that the application should not consume more storage memory. Most probably these types of issues should get handled while developing an application and as a tester, I think we need to make sure these are handled properly at the developing end only.

10. Mobile Browsers 

There are numerous types of mobile handsets available in the market. In addition to that, there are a number of mobile browsers are available as per the device. Mostly Chrome, Firefox, Safari browsers are widely used for browsing on mobile.

You need to make sure you test various browser possibilities within your mobile device, because it might be that your application works great on the one browser but may behave weirdly on other browsers. Yes, it happens!

11. Location Dependencies

Location access is the key core of many apps. If you want doorstep food delivery, then your location must be known to your app. In that case, GPS comes into the picture.

GPS testing is very tricky. Testers need to make sure your application is working properly with your device’s GPS, if its showing accurate distance on your device, timings displayed by your app is correct or not, is the tracking correct or not, etc. What we can do in this case is to at least try to test physically visiting the location if possible. Visit nearby locations when you are outside of your house, office, and check the response. You need to be very responsible while testing 😉 Another cool option you can try TestProject’s Geolocation Utils Addon that can mock your location if you need to be identified on another location during your test.

Conclusion

Challenges are always there to break applications, but how we overcome them is that’s what makes us different from others. How effectively we create solutions that make it visible and stronger. Mobile testing is vast and always misunderstood as tough, but the risk can always be eliminated by applying proper techniques and using the right tools. Here’s also a great article on some tips to improve your mobile testing skills you might find useful.

Feel free to add your thoughts/suggestions.
Happy Testing ✨

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About the author

Aditi Mokasdar

I am a Software Tester having almost 4.5 + years of experience in Functional Testing and Test Automation. I like to learn and explore new things :)

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